When Caring Masks Neediness

This month we’re talking about becoming a loving person by loving ourselves first. Sometimes a person who seems very loving has very little love for themselves. In this case, they are using their love to mask their neediness.

Talia seemed like a confident, loving single woman in her early thirties. She had a great job and plenty of friends. She didn’t like doing things alone, so she’d always invite a friend, often paying their way at a restaurant or to see a movie. What it was hard for her friends to see at first was that behind all her supposed confidence was a woman who was afraid to be alone and who depended heavily on her circle of friends to fill up her life.

Susan wrote in Dare to Connect that “Very often we THINK we are very loving people, when we are actually very needy. We ‘give’ purely for the purpose of buying love. We give, not from the openness of our heart, but because of the neediness caused by our own spiritual separation. And if you think people don’t notice, you’re absolutely wrong. They do notice and they don’t want to be around that kind of negative energy. As you have probably discovered for yourself, there is a smothering quality in a needy person that is very difficult to be around.”

While Talia had many friends, none of them lasted for very long or were very close, leaving her feeling even more needy for companionship. Susan has the “cure” for neediness—creating meaning in every part of our lives.

To heal ourselves of neediness, Susan wrote, “It is one of those step-by-step processes that we focus on daily. It requires the creation of a rich life, one that has warm friends, meaningful activities, nourishing time alone, loving contributions to society, healing relationships with family, and so on. In addition, a rich life requires commitment to all of the above, knowing that what we do in this life really makes a difference. Those of you who are familiar with my ‘grid of life’ know what I am talking about.”

When we are committed 100% to every part of our life, we won’t need to depend on others to fill us up. The neediness will go away and we can live a life rich in real love.